A woman's diet during her pregnancy can impact the health of her offspring throughout its life.
This is according to recent research co-funded by the British Heart Foundation, which found that what a mother eats while pregnant has a lasting effect on the child.
Indeed, the research, which was led by a senior researcher at the University of Cambridge, found that rats given a low-protein diet during pregnancy had offspring that developed Type 2 diabetes later in life.
This was due to the fact that the diet affected a gene called HNF-4a, which controls the production of insulin.
Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at BHF, commented: "The reasons why are not well understood, but this study in rats adds to the evidence that a mother’s diet may sometimes alter the control of certain genes in her unborn child.
"It's no reason for expectant mothers to be unduly worried. This research doesn't change our advice that pregnant women should try to eat a healthy, balanced diet."